Teen Talk. Talking To Teens...

Teen Talk - Live

Chris is taking “Teen Talk” on the road. If you are a member of a parent group or responsible for finding engaging speakers for student or youth groups, please contact Chris at www.chrislincoln-speaker.com

Teen Talk

Chris Lincoln MEd
Chris Lincoln MEd

Talking To Teens

A year away from students has given me the opportunity to clarify my thoughts (putting many of them in writing on Hubpages). The problem is, I miss the human interaction. I’m happy to stay informed by email and Facebook, but one of the highlights of my job was simply talking to teens…

In an attempt to rectify that, I have decided that it is time to go on the road. Assemblies and presentations have been a part of my life for over twenty years, both doing them, and listening to them. I have spoken to many groups of parents, from nervous fifth grade parents anticipating the horrors of middle school, to happy graduating groups, and just about everything in between.

Even with the concerns of the parent groups, I can share, with humor, the message that they will survive, perhaps even enjoy, this period with their children.

I am also hoping that I will have many opportunities to speak with teens and tweens, as their issues and concerns are near and dear to my heart. I am not afraid of any topic, from drugs to sexuality, but my focus has always been on finding yourself; the great challenge of developing a strong moral core. And, understanding why you do what you do, even when you know it is not a great idea.

The impact of the ‘Teen Collective” is extraordinary, and goes far deeper than the often talked about ‘peer pressure’. Helping teens understand the effect, and empowering them to hone their individuality, is just as important as the messages to parents who bear witness to the struggle.

Teen Culture is an ever moving target, and it is a challenge to be able to connect with teens, as a group, or individuals, but I have found that simple honesty, sincerity and passion has always worked for me. It is important that the audience not feel ‘lectured at’, but ‘spoken with’. A fine line I think I have managed to tread most of the time.

I do have the advantage of real experience in their world, and having an accent (English) is different and apparently entertaining.

The ‘what’ is easy to define, the ‘how’ is proving to be the greater challenge. With no central agency effectively managing school speakers, marketing becomes a necessity. This is an area where I have little experience, and simply relying on word of mouth is unlikely to provide many leads for speaking opportunities. Oh, and there’s that economy thing…

So, once again I turn to the community on Hubpages, any bright ideas for me?

Back to the original point, talking to teens. This age group has reported to me, on many occasions, that there is a way of speaking to them that they appreciate. First, they hate being spoken down to. They are not mentally deficient (despite some actions to the contrary). Second, they hate it when someone deliberately speaks over their head, or uses language that they believe is the current idiom. The middle ground, which encompasses respect, patience and a clear thought process, is the way to go. Speak naturally, and with honesty. If you are passionate about something, be passionate. The point being that this age is expert at reading body language. They watch each other, and adults if they have to, like hawks. They know fake. They know condescension. They have zero respect for anyone (outside their circle) wasting their time.

Good lessons for public speaking, but equally valuable when talking one-on-one in family situations.

Like most people, teens want their opinions to be respected. Even when they sound entitled or rude or ill informed, they want you to filter and hear their message. “No one listens to us!” is a plaintive cry I have heard many, many times.

As the adult, you need to model both listening and speaking well. Is it fair to expect your child to listen to you, if they feel you never listen to them? If you do not patiently explain yourself, what inclination does your teen have to try?

Modeling the behavior you wish to see is the best, most appropriate, and most successful way to effect change. In current parlance, it is the key component of ‘Parenting Best Practice’. (“Because I say so…” works as badly now as it did when it was thrown at you as a child.)

And of course, all this takes time. Most issues in families come about by neglect, not deliberate action. We have busy lives, but time invested in communicating clearly, and fairly, with your children, from an early age, will pay dividends. Think about the time you invested in potty training, or teaching them to read. Surely, some quality time communicating with your teen is worth it?

I have found that this age group is slow to trust, but once they know you are genuine, they will be very open and honest. (Sometimes brutally so!) Both things I wanted and appreciated as both a principal and as a parent.

And of course their test of genuine is seeing change in action, not just words. I have asked for, and utilized, teen opinion on everything from scheduling, design of new classrooms to my writing and web site. I enjoyed (back in the day) being kept somewhat up to date on life from a teen perspective by my stepsons and their friends. (Realizing that I was about as cool as the middle of Death Valley in summer.)

So, the key is to talking to teens is personal integrity, supported by communicating clearly and honestly. It doesn’t sound so hard now, does it? And when your teen responds to you in the same manner, enjoy it, appreciate it, and appreciate them.

Potty training was probably easier…

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Comments 19 comments

attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Hi Chris, I'm a long way away geographically and academically but i'll do my best. How about rocking up to schools personally and setting out your stall to the head honcho?

What about private one on one mentoring/tutoring? I don't know the system of course and you are probably already three steps ahead of me. How about sporting groups, or other groups outside the schools environment?

I can't think of anything else at the moment, but i'll brainstorm with some of my brainy mates. Good luck anyway. Cheers


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Keith,

I'm just going to plug away at all those things. Like all artistic endeavors, I just need a break, man!

C


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Have you thought of doing a recording of one of your talks and sending copies out?


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Keith,

I have recorded four hubs, one for Teen Talk, one for OK UK?, one for Lemon County and one for The Hapless Househusband. They are all at http://www.chrislincoln-speaker.com have a listen - feedback would great.

It looks like it's just you and me on this particular hub!

Chris


fashion 5 years ago

Great hub.Great talk.

I liked your work


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

fashion,

Thank you for joining me...

C


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

You know I'm a #1 fan of your 'teen talk" which I've been reading on your hub site for a good while. I have no "in" with any schools or teen-groups, but how I wish you were speaking to my great grandson's (and his sister's) school in Indianapolis - or to them personally. They lives half-way across the country from and I have no direct connection with their schooling. But I'm thinking! You are a valuable resource for teens!!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Nellieanna,

I'm certainly trying to reach as many teens and parents of teens as possible. I sincerely hope that this works...

And as always, thank you for reading and adding your positive comments,

Blessings,

Chris


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Wish I were more help, but if encouragement helps I am all for your effort. Great new picture too!


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

My kids are young yet (ages 9,6 and 2) so I have a few years before I have to start dealing with teens. Your advice hits home, however, in that we are already doing our best to communicate with our kids in the way that you describe. Hopefully that will help going down the road.

Great hub earning you a vote-up and useful.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Phil,

Much appreciated. You get my point that much of how the teen years play out, builds upon the foundation laid in the earlier years.

And, never stop telling how much you love them!

C


smaamom 5 years ago

I miss hearing you talk! You were always so reassuring and affirming. I think you may actually have saved my kids life on a couple of occasions! I really hope this works out for you.

LB


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

LB

Just need the bookings!

C


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 5 years ago from USA

Another great hub Chris!

Sorry it took me so long to get around to it. My youngest just graduated in May and decided to fly the nest a little early. It left a few bitter moments, but we managed to work through it. She keeps reminding me that she is an adult now that will more than likely learn her lessons the hard way because she is bullheaded.

I really wished this town had someone like you to talk to the teens here. It is small town without much to do but get into trouble. The teen pregnancy rate is high. (There were five girls in my daughter's class of 26 that were pregnant or had a child in the last two years.) Her class was known as the "Party class" with no qualms about posting it on Facebook. Maybe if they had a mentor like you to help bridge the gap between them and their parents, they could see where some of their actions will save them from self distructing.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject.


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 5 years ago

Keep up the great work Chris, since my 16 yr old son came to me last September and now 17 he felt he could get into as much experimenting as he could handle. So, drugs they were. What followed was kicked out of High School, addictions, rehab and counseling.

He was moody, angry, lazy, dirty, lying, running away and more. For almost a year he put his old man through the hoops. It's only the last few months that he has finally given up the drugs, not the partying, now he is in to drinking and has come home tilted a few times.

Although he is holding down two jobs before he goes back in September to finish off his last year of H.S. oh YES they called me up and are allowing him back to finish up his Grade 12 under very strict conditions, so I told him it's completely up to you, or else they will kick your butt out for good.

Anyways, we need people like you speaking out and helping out the families and their children with all these problems in their young lives. Drugs, booze, sex, and must I add Rock N Roll, nah it never did me any good when my parents told me to give it all up.

I just rebelled and did it more, but I was a survivor and lived to get past it all. Hopefully my son will to. Thanks for the great read.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

tipoague,

I was interested in your use of the word "bullheaded" as it is one of many qualities that can be negative or positive depending on circumstances. It is a defining feature of highly succesful individuals, where it is call "drive". In the teen years it is mostly just a challenge, with the caveat that strong willed individuals are more likely to not bend to peer pressure. As adults it causes less problems unless it alienates loved ones.

There really ought to be some sort of manual for parenting! Who ever said "its only sex" probably never understood the massive understatement!!!

C


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 5 years ago from USA

She uses her bullheadedness in both possitive and negative. I should write a hub on this, but one time I told her that if she didn't clean her room I would have to throw her stuff away. She was just coming out of her tot years to the pre-school age. (about 4 years old) I had tried everything in the book to get her to follow the rules so this was the next attempt. About 15 minutes to 30 minutes later I went to check on her. She had four garbage bags full of stuff sitting on the floor. I asked what she was doing. She (with a grin on her face and happy as a clam) told me that she didn't feel like cleaning her room, so she was "helping" me to throw her stuff away. How does one punish that? I have always called her my challenging child. At the time, I could only imagine what I would face with her teen years. It seems that no matter how mad she made me, it didn't take long with a word or deed to crack me up.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Saddlerider1,

It's responses like yours that make me realize how little I know...

The challenge of finding yourself, becoming a person, uncovering your personality, whatever you want to call it, is so overwhelming for some, it's heartbreaking. The inherent dangers don't prevent those who are so inclined from not just standing on the edge, but seeing what would happen if they fall.

No matter what advice or experience you try to share, it seems like that is just an annoyance to those bent on finding it out for themselves. The only role left is to be there when they need you, and to try and avoid enabling the negative behaviors.

Perhaps the single hardest thing for a parent to do.

I wish you luck and patience, and hope that there is a such a thing as a survivor gene!

C


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

tip,

I had to laugh at that one! I'd see that as incontovertible proof of social giftedness. Tough for you, but a superb social survival skill for her.

I think it would be a phenomenal hub - get writing!

C

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